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PHI/CDC Fellows COVID-19 Assignments

In response to COVID-19, Fellows from the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program quickly pivoted to addressing the pandemic—with 34 PHI/CDC Fellows contributing their skills, expertise and capacity to 53 projects in support of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center.

34 PHI/CDC Global Health Fellows have contributed to the work of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center

PHI/CDC GLOBAL HEALTH FELLOWS RESPONDING TO COVID-19

For the PHI/CDC Global Health Fellowship Program, the urgency of the COVID-19 pandemic is a reminder that it is more important than ever to build the global health workforce. As of July 2020, 34 of the PHI/CDC Fellows have contributed to the work of  53 projects in support of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center, which “brings together highly trained experts and state-of-the-art technology to coordinate resources, information, and crisis and emergency risk communication to strengthen our nation’s ability to detect and respond to public health threats” (CDC, 2020). 33 of the 34 overseas based PHI/CDC Global Health Fellows relocated back to the U.S. and have shown great flexibility and adaptability to jump in and assist where needed on the response. In the fall of 2020, twenty-nine new Fellows were onboarded and began working remotely in support of CDC’s Center for Global Health in Atlanta, Washington, DC and host offices around the world.

34 PHI/CDC Fellows have contributed to the work of CDC’s Emergency Operations Center, which “brings together highly trained experts and state-of-the-art technology to coordinate resources, information, and crisis and emergency risk communication to strengthen our nation’s ability to detect and respond to public health threats” (CDC, 2020).

How PHI/CDC Fellows Are Supporting CDC’s COVID-19 Response

PHI/CDC Fellows responding to COVID-19 are teleworking while serving on various Task Force Teams, with detail assignments ranging from 30-60 days. 11 Task Force Teams include Fellows, with the majority serving on the COVID-19 International Task Force: Information Management Team:

infographic: Fellows COVID-19 Assignments

While tasks vary according to team, some assignments have included monitoring global mitigation measures and analytics to support CDC country offices, tracking requests that come into CDC Headquarters from country offices, and developing health communication measures and health education materials.

image: head shot of Robyn Bernstein

Robyn Bernstein, MPH

Robyn Bernstein, MPH, gave a presentation on community mitigation in Africa to the COVID-19 International Task Force. Robyn is a first year Surveillance Fellow for the Epidemiology and Surveillance Branch in the Division of Global HIV & Tuberculosis at CDC Zambia.

image: head shot of Greg Chang

Greg Chang, MPH

Greg Chang, MPH, who assisted the International Epidemiology Team, has focused on tracking the disease in priority countries: “We pull case data on each country and track it… From there, others extract the data and clean it and create proper variables that will be analyzed.” Greg is a second year Surveillance Fellow for the Epidemiology & Surveillance Branch, in the Division of Global HIV & Tuberculosis at CDC’s Center for Global Health, Atlanta, Georgia.

image: head shot of Riley Wagner

Riley Wagner, MPH

Riley Wagner, MPH, was the first guest on the PHI/CDC Global Health Podcast, where she discussed her experience responding to COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships around the world. Riley also contributed to CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Public Health Responses to COVID-19 Outbreaks on Cruise Ships — Worldwide, February–March 2020.” Riley is a second year Program Management Fellow for CDC’s Center for Global Health Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.

As PHI/CDC Global Health Fellow Ayayi Ayite, MPH, MBA commented recently, “Our current pandemic we are having is actually proof that we can never have enough people in public health.” We are inspired by our Fellows’ adaptability, hard work and varied contributions to the COVID-19 response during this challenging time.

“Our current pandemic we are having is actually proof that we can never have enough people in public health.” — PHI/CDC Global Health Fellow Ayayi Ayite, MPH, MBA

(PHI/CDC Fellows) Nolana and Carter were great additions to the Community Intervention and At-Risk Task Force Operations Team. Both of them showed great leadership and autonomy. They have multitasked different operations and team activities; initiated, implemented and coordinated projects; developed innovative ways to solve problems; interacted with and provided guidance to COVID-19 Response Leadership; and used their subject matter expertise to assist teams and lead tasks. Captain Letia Boseman, U.S. Public Health Service/CDC Senior Public Health Analyst, Community Intervention and At-Risk Task Force Operations

For more on the 2020 Fellowship class, see the 2020 year in review and more from the program website.

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